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Laundry Etiquette

How to Have Loads of Fun in the Laundry Room

By Alaina Burris
On September 28, 2018

Photo by Bruna Pacheco

An unexpected drop of syrup lands on your lap during breakfast in the caf. Practice went on for 20 minutes longer than it was supposed to, leaving your shirt with the most repulsive smell one could think of. You left a pair of underwear in your laundry basket a little too long.

You can’t ask mom if she’ll do your laundry and you can’t put it off any longer.

This calls for one thing and one thing only: a trip to the laundry room.

With the laundry basket stuffed, topped with Tide detergent and Downy fabric softener, you make your way to the laundry room. Neither of the machines are running, so you should be able to start your laundry, no problem, right?


Both washers are full, zero minutes left on the machine. No one is coming this direction.

You come back 20 minutes later, only to find the same thing: the same clothes pressed against the window on the door of the washer. No one has even been here.

“I guess I’ll wait a little longer,” you say to yourself.

Another 20 minutes pass and you return to the laundry room in time to see a student pull their damp whites out of the washer, dropping them into the basket preparing to move them to the dryer.

Forty minutes. That’s how long you waited. But how long have their clothes been there? Has anyone else been waiting to do their laundry? Will they come back right when their dryer is done or will they continue to put it off?

Not many people are used to sharing washers and dryers with more people than their family members, and some people are doing their laundry on their own for the first time. When you have to share a few appliances with an entire residence hall, it gets complicated.

Here are a few tips to follow the etiquette of the laundry room:

  • Set a timer on your phone to match the time on the machine.
  • Don’t start your laundry if you’re about to do something that would prevent you from getting it on time.
  • While your laundry is washing, you can catch up on homework.
  • Clean the lint out of the dryer and always double-check the lint has been removed before you start drying your load.
  • Separate your clothes before going to the laundry room.
  • Limit yourself to using one washer and/or dryer at a time.
  • If there are other people in the laundry room when your clothes are finished, take them back to your room to hang and fold.
  • Leave the washing machine doors slightly ajar when not in use. This lets people know they’re available for use and helps avoid mildew.
  • Use the proper high efficiency (HE) laundry detergent in the University washing machines.
  • Check the washers/dryers to make sure nothing is forgotten.
  • Let an RA know if a machine is broken by filling out a maintenance form.

These are tips that will not only help students out during their years in college, but will also help after college, since most apartment complexes have a shared laundry room and some people need to go to a laundromat in order to get their laundry done. Now, take this etiquette and go make the laundry room a better place. 


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